Fun Home ~ Alison Bechdel

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Date Completed: (6/6/2015)

Rating: 6.5/10

Fun Home is a tragicomedy about a funeral home. It takes place in Beech Creek, where their Gothic Revival House is. This is a coming of age story, a journey through her sexual identity, and the story of her parents’ marriage, but particularly her father’s story as it relates and does not relate to their family.

She parallels her own discovery of her sexuality with the discovery of her father’s sexuality and his death. She says, “Indeed, I had become a connoisseur of masculinity at an early age. I sensed a chink in my family’s armor, an undefended gap in the circle of our wagons which cried out, it seemed to me, for some plain, two-fisted sinew.” This relates back to later on when her father says, “When I was little, I really wanted to be a girl” and she responds, “I wanted to be a boy! I dressed in boys’ clothes! Remember?”

I enjoy the style of forward/backward flashes and how non-linear the story is. There are two major events that happen – 1) her father dies in a car accident, and 2) she comes out to herself and her family as a lesbian. As the story takes you from the early years of her life, from about age 4 on, she goes through significant character development. Alison goes from being the black sheep of the family, a girl who wants to be and dress like a boy, to a woman who has more in common with her father than she thought.

Because this graphic novel is written memoir style, there are some strange parts of the book that don’t necessarily relate to her relationship with her father, which I took to be the main theme of the book. Some of the scenes definitely made me uncomfortable, and I don’t think it would hurt to skip over those points. However, Alison is the person who created the Bechdel test, a test for gender bias in fiction, used commonly in both books and movies. She has a second book that came out in 2012 called, Are You My Mother?

I enjoyed this book overall. I would recommend it, but I definitely think it’s a niche book.

 

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